Yes, that is fine. I thank the Deputy for her questions and a further opportunity to discuss the very serious issue of anti-social behaviour. As I said in my earlier reply to a similar question from Deputy Lahart, while the vast majority of public transport passenger journeys occur without incident, the safety and security of both public transport passengers and staff, including arrangements to deal with anti-social behaviour, are important matters that, first and foremost, must be managed by every public transport company and, where appropriate, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána. While I am of course concerned to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place to ensure the safety of all passengers and staff, the allocation of all Garda resources, including the manner in which Garda personnel are deployed, is a decision solely for the Garda Commissioner and his team.
As I outlined earlier, the Minister for Justice and Equality has been advised in a report prepared by An Garda Síochána on this issue that it is not proposed to establish a specialist or dedicated unit of the force to police the rail network and that effective local community policing efforts can meet the policing needs of the rail network and its stakeholders. As part of this, An Garda Síochána's superintendent of community engagement and public safety liaises regularly with the chairman of the Railway Safety Advisory Council, RSAC, and will attend future meetings, as requested, of the RSAC, which includes representatives of the rail companies and trade unions. The superintendent has also undertaken to arrange meetings between local Garda management and public transport providers on any identified locations where significant crime and anti-social behaviour persist. Such meetings will enable discussion of the delivery of an appropriate policing response in collaboration with transport providers.
I have been advised that the superintendent will provide advice on community policing engagement, crime prevention, diversity and hate crime to management and staff of the main public transport providers, as was done in a presentation to Transdev, which operates the Luas, last January. The RSAC and the Garda have agreed to keep these actions under review and subject to an annual meeting between the RSAC and the superintendent of community engagement and public safety.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
The partnership approach between An Garda Síochána and the rail companies to promote high visibility and strong community engagement on the rail network resulted in Operation Twintrack on 13 September, whereby gardaí were deployed to 12 rail stations nationally along with high-visibility patrolling of rail stations and Luas routes.
I am pleased to say that overall incidents of anti-social behaviour and vandalism on Dublin Bus have decreased in recent years since the introduction of the exact fare system, CCTV and security screens at drivers' cabs. I am advised by Bus Éireann that incidents of anti-social behaviour to date this year are at a similar level to last year. It is vital that all public transport companies continue their strong and close working relationship with An Garda Síochána to address these incidents.